Post Covid-19 Surgical Ophthalmology Pathway

Post Covid-19 Surgical Ophthalmology Pathway featured image

Sarah Taylor


Tetbury Hospital Trust Ltd


As a result of Covid-19 Tetbury Hospital has developed and is delivering an ophthalmology surgical pathway within current and ongoing Covid-19 guidelines. We are able to continue to deliver an efficient and effective and safe surgical pathway for patients


In the late 1980s Tetbury Hospital was part of the NHS service, but it faced closure, so the local community and surrounding areas raised over £1 million to buy the hospital and save it from closure. We became Tetbury Hospital Trust Ltd and an independent charity. We are a small community hospital, our aim has always been to deliver the best in care, and our charitable objective is to provide integrated, seamless healthcare for the people and local communities we serve, that is safe, effective, and centered around the patient. We help people who need expert care, including patients with physical and learning disabilities. Our services include Minor Injuries Unit, X-ray Department, Outpatient Department, Day Surgery Unit. We pride ourselves in providing a calm, welcoming environment with highly experienced staff and consultants, who are passionate about caring for patients, many of whom are from the local area. Last year we saw 15,896 patients across all departments. Over 95% of our services are delivered on behalf of the NHS, although as an independent charity we are not eligible to apply for NHS funding. So, our dedicated fundraising team, The Friends of Tetbury Hospital, work incredibly hard to raise funds to enable us to buy vital new and replacement medical equipment and we are so grateful for their enduring support.


Before we encountered the global pandemic, we operated an efficient ophthalmology surgical pathway with eight patients on a list. Prior to Covid-19, four patients were admitted to our day surgery unit at 8am and were administered a pellet in their eye to dilate the pupil, this could take up to 45 minutes to activate. At 9am another four patients were admitted and underwent the same process. Following patient consent theatre started at 9am with all eight patients on the ward together. After their surgery patients would return to the ward for a cup of tea, and to receive post op instructions and medication. A typical patient would be in our day surgery unit for approximately 2hrs and some patients up to 3.5 hours. As a result of the pandemic we have developed our ophthalmology surgical pathway to respect Covid-19 and infection control guidelines to deliver our patients an effective experience while still providing the utmost care and safety during their short time with us. Our surgical team wear full PPE and have their temperature checked every day on arrival. With our new post Covid-19 pathway patients are sent pre-operative eye drops, to administer 30 minutes prior to their appointment, this reduces the time the patient remains in the department. Patients will either be required to isolate for 14 days prior to their procedure or will be Covid tested up to 72 hours prior to procedure. On the day of surgery, starting at 8am one patient at a time enters the hospital every 30 minutes. On arrival, before entering the day surgery unit, they have their temperature checked and asked screening questions. Their admission process is reduced by 45 minutes as no pellet is required. After admission and consent they proceed straight into theatre for their procedure. Following their procedure instead of returning to the ward they now enter our recovery room where they receive post-op instructions and medication. They leave the recovery room through a new exit and do not return to the ward; we have a one-way system in place meaning they will never cross paths with another patient. The time a patient is with us following our new pathway is around an hour. We have developed a safe, efficient, effective, and caring pathway. Even with current restrictions we can demonstrate that we are still able to operate on the same number of patients on a list preCovid-19.

For further information contact: [email protected]

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